Summer is a sacred time for high school students. It’s spent relaxing, free of homework and deadlines, and generally having fun.
Some students in Texas, however, see things much differently.
High school students from all around Texas are donating their summers by giving back to their community and repairing homes of those in need during the summer months.
The students are part of the United Methodist Church Action Reach-Out Mission, or better known as the U.M. Army, a group that deploys students across the country to help out on small construction projects.
This particular group of high schoolers has been helping out in East Texas since June, rebuilding homes for people who cannot do it themselves.
“It’s just something I can do because I can’t always spend money or donate money,” Coby Balli, a high school senior, told KETK news, “but I can spend my time and my hard labor to help people.”
The construction projects can look like a simple paint job, to yard work, or even completing small construction projects like porches and wheelchair ramps.
“It helps them to be more mobile and have a better quality of life,” one of the team leaders, Sydney Reagan said. “Otherwise they may not be able to have these projects done at all and then we get to meet them and talk to them. It’s just a relational and a service kind of thing.”
The projects are completed for free and are paid for through the student’s fee’s to partake in the program. So not only are the kids completing construction projects, but they are also bilaterally paying for them.
The U.M. army program includes around 5,000 members, with 2,000 projects completed each year. They work “To provide Christ-centered missions that serve people in need and promote spiritual growth and leadership development in youth and young adults.”
Mackenzee MacComb, a junior in high school, has been working in East Texas with a group for the past couple of weeks, serving in Kilgore and Longview.
“It’s important to me to help people and make sure that their lives are good and they’re being able to do stuff,” Makenzee MacComb said.
The high schoolers recently completed their time in Longview and will head to Henderson, Texas next.